Skip to comments.American Flag Banned on Campuses Across the Nation
Posted on 12/04/2001 12:19:34 PM PST by Jean S
As the stars and stripes fly proudly all over America, many colleges are banning the American flag and other patriotic symbols deemed to be "offensive." Marquette, Lehigh, Arizona State, Central Michigan, and Texas A&M are among the campuses where flag controversies have erupted.
Officials at Arizona State forced the removal of the Flag from the Sahuaro dining hall. When the student senate pushed for a bill to reinstate the flag, it was voted down.
Student senator Oubai Shahbandar, head of the school's College Republicans, refused to let the matter rest. He launched a massive local media blitz and contacted alumni. The response was one of outrage. Shahbandar told Campus Report that it took over a week of angry phone calls for Arizona State to put the flag back. "It took them after thousands of calls, e-mails all over Arizona, all over the country, alumni everywhere threatening to stop donating. In fact, we got word from a good source in the alumni association that the administration was poised to lose over $1,000,000 in alumni contributions and actually we were able to substantiate this when we had a couple of large companies in the area emailing us and telling us that they would stop contributing until ASU got its act together."
"[The alumni] are irritated about the flag not being displayed," said Leila Moustafa, of the ASU Alumni Association office. "Many are threatening not to contribute to the alumni association anymore."
Student Scott Marceau commented, "It's appalling that a piece of cloth that represents the freedom our country stands for was taken down."
ASU bought radio ads apologizing for the ban to help repair their reputation. Public Relations vice president Leslie Aun admitted that the school had made a mistake. "In retrospect, we made the wrong decision," she said. Sodexho Marriott, which runs the dinning hall, also released an apology, but stated they had reason to remove the flag because it was "insensitive to all the international students that live in the dorm."
Shahbandar added, "What's really interesting is that when the story first broke, our president Lattie Coor did not say anything about our American flag being desecrated. But that same day Lattie Coor managed to hold a rally outside the student service building for [Ahmad Saad Nasim] who faked that hate crime against himself."
Activism was also responsible for reinstating the flag's display at Texas A&M University, where the Residence Hall Association barred students from displaying the American flag outside their dorm windows.
Chris Bernhard of the Residence Hall Association said the ban did not violate the First Amendment because it had been a long time rule that no flags could be flown because of fire safety. Students requested that an exception be made for the American flag in light of the recent attacks. The association denied their request.
Other students opposed making an exception for the flag because by not allowing other national flags, it would create an "exclusionary environment and nullify campus claims of diversity."
After negative publicity surrounding the Association's decision, Texas A&M sent out press releases stating that, "No attempt is being made to curtail appropriate display of the U.S. flag." Students argued that residence hall banners that are placed by residential advisors are allowed to hang out of windows, and they are not considered a "fire hazard." Residence life official, Tura King told Campus Report that after student campaigning the Association amended its decision to allow the flag's display outside windows as long as residential advisors ensured that safety standards were met.
Vice President of student affairs Malon Southerland stated, "We regret any misunderstanding created by our commitment to student safety."
Students at Arizona State and Texas A&M were not the only ones who ran into trouble trying to show their patriotism. Marquette University blocked students from holding a moment of silence around the American flag. "[The administration] felt that it showed too much nationalism or patriotism in respect to foreign students," said College Republican President Lonny Leitner. "We wanted to gather around that symbol and express our sorrow. Our right to free speech has been taken away by the upper administration."
"There was no formal request, no paperwork filed with Student Development-which is a requirment," said Vice President of Public Affairs Rana Altenburg. "It was a terrible situation because Lonny just wanted to have a moment of silence, which is perfectly appropriate."
College Republican faculty advisor Professor John McAdams commented, "I hope there's no prejudice against Arab students, but I don't think [the flag] would have encouraged that. Marquette simply looks silly trying to stifle [the memorial]. It's a major blunder on their part."
After a week of arguing, Marquette said the moment of silence could take place, but only where the ROTC would raise and then lower the flag to half-mast. "Taps" was also played.
"I initiated [the ceremony] in cooperation with ROTC since they do it every day," said Patrick Dorsey, liaison between Marquette and the ROTC. "We were being more inclusive and meeting the needs of the Marquette community. The only difference [from normal ROTC flag raising] was we invited everyone to come and respect and reverence the flag for what it stands in our hearts as a patriotic symbol."
Professor McAdams found the fact that Marquette held up the moment of silence to be unacceptable. "Marquette looks bad because of its inconsistent policy. The only way to make it more consistent is to take a more lenient approach. They should allow students to express themselves freely, within reason."
Lonny Leitner commented, "I'm happy some students on campus get to express patriotism, and I hope it is a great event for ROTC, but I am still extremely upset with the decision to deny us our freedom."
Patriotic symbols were also shunned at Central Michigan University. Residence hall directors in Emmons Hall told students they had till the end of the day to remove patriotic symbols which some considered "offensive." Freshman Edna Wolff Laingsburg had an American flag removed from her door. The Residential Advisors said the students were very compliant and nothing was taken down by the Advisors. "Sometimes things come up missing. People take stuff. We try to monitor, but if they don't tell us it was taken, we have no basis or background," stated Emmons Hall director Al Nowak. "The flag was never an issue."
"There were some materials on a couple of residence hall rooms that were vulgar and offensive in nature .They were asked to remove those. It wasn't a demand," executive director of public relations Michael Silverthorn told Campus Report. "We believe in the 1st Amendment rights of our students."
The incident upset Central Michigan's SGA which passed a resolution condemning the forced removal of patriotic symbols. "Recognizing, the recent alleged actions of university departments in ordering the removal of patriotic symbols and materials, therefore be it resolved, that the Student Government Association of Central Michigan University strongly condemns these actions, both now and in the future, and be it further resolved that the SGA of CMU urges all students on campus to appropriately express their patriotism and pride in America if they so choose."
Senate leader Bryan Beach commented, "This is going on on campuses across the country where they are telling people to take down American flags; and I think that, especially on a college campus, you should be able to hang a flag."
The removal of the American flag from a campus bus was enforced at Lehigh University. Vice Provost John Smeaton's decision was to promote "understanding." The school's newspaper, The Brown and White, supported the ban by bringing up seemingly irrelevant issues such as Muslim heritage and Arab Americans making contributions to society. They accused those who show patriotism of encouraging violence against Arab Americans. When Morning Call reporter Matt Assad denounced the ban, The Brown and White berated patriotism, writing, "Perhaps Mr. Assad would like to see our patriotism expressed via the beating of random Muslims as we have seen occur on campuses and in cities around the nation." Assad had made no such remarks.
Holy Cross's Chair of the Department of Sociology, Royce Singleton, forced a secretary to remove an American flag she had displayed in the department's office. Her friend Todd Beamer had died fighting to save lives on hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. Singleton removed the flag himself after the secretary refused. After the incident drew negative publicity, Holy Cross apologized, yet the flag was never returned to the sociology department.
At Berkeley, firefighters were forced to take the American flag off of their trucks because of fear that angry anti-American Berkeley students might vandalize the vehicles.
Students at Amherst didn't want to ban the flag, just burn it. At a rally to sing "God Bless America" and other patriotic songs, students from nearby Hampshire College responded by burning two American flags nearby. Christopher Palacios' family had fled Cuba to escape Castro. "It makes me sick when American kids say the American flag scares them," he commented. One of the flag burners who refused to give his name, blamed the U.S. for genocide since 1492. A student at the rally, Theodore Hertzberg noted how this was just one of many anti-American acts on campus. "Amherst is 25 square miles surrounded by reality."
I'm pretty sure that college will be obsolete anyway by the time she is ready, and this kind of nonsense is only one more nail in the coffin of a 19th century college system that makes increasinly less and less financial sense.
Somehow, they made it through Immigration without geting offended.
How senstitive is it for foreigners to expect their host country to forfiet its identity?
Notice that of all the colleges that banned patriotic displays, none were opposed by College DemocRATS.
I swear that my children will never pass the place without cursing it as an example of everything that's wrong in this country.
God Save America (Please)
Worth saying twice.
"...it would create an 'exclusionary environment and nullify campus claims of diversity.'"
"[The administration] felt that it showed too much nationalism or patriotism in respect to foreign students,"
Residence hall directors in Emmons Hall told students they had till the end of the day to remove patriotic symbols which some considered "offensive"
You know what? To hell with the easily offended. International students should go home if they don't like it. FLY OLD GLORY!